Claims: Advantures in the Gold Trade

by Ken Lefolii
264 pages,
ISBN: 1550130005

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The story of the great gold discovery north of Lake Superior that has come to be known as Hemlo, after the nearest small railway station, has many fascinating aspects. Hemlo is, after all, the richest gold strike ever made in the Western hemisphere. When you add the David-and.Galiath story of little Corona Resources of Vancouver taking on Lac Minerals Ltd. For the ownership of one of the world's richest mines, you get one of the best stories of the decade.
In Claims Ken Lefolii has staked this rich journalistic vein. It's got colourful characters like super stock-hustler Murray Pezim or laconic prospector Donald McKinnon; a tense courtroom drama hinging on an interesting point of law; and stakes that are gloriously high estimates of the trialwinner's take range from a low of $1 billion to something over $10 billion.
Unfortunately, Lefotii is aiming for higher things than a good story. He wants,. he explains, to understand, "the peculiar relationships between people and gold," and so, like the medieval alchemists he writes about, he adds to his brew: a shat of pop-psychology, a few dashes of lung, same shaky history, and a couple of chapters of loosely connected autobiography. The results of these attempts to transmute his material into literature are leaden at best, but where Claims sticks to the goad base metal of the Hemlo story, LefoIii, paradoxically, finds gold.

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